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On Ohio State's Bradley Roby and Carlos Hyde

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Carlos Hyde is no longer with Ohio State following a developing legal situation. OSU CB Bradley Roby may face consequences next. But should that change how we view the latter if/when he ultimately returns from suspension?

Bradley Roby (center) may be out indefinitely for Ohio State.
Bradley Roby (center) may be out indefinitely for Ohio State.
Andy Lyons

They can see no reasons
'Cuz there are no reasons
What reasons do you need?
Oh Oh oh whoa whoa

Tell me why
I don't like Mondays
Tell me why
I don't like Mondays
Tell me why
I don't like Mondays
I wanna shoo-oo-oo-woo-woo-oot
The whole day down, down, down, shoot it all down

---Boomtown Rats

Bradley Roby and Carlos Hyde, two of the most important pieces in what many people think will be a serious championship run for Ohio State in 2013, found themselves in separate legal hot water this past weekend. Hyde, after allegedly assaulting a woman at a Columbus dance club, has been dismissed from the team, and Roby's status has yet to be announced by head coach Urban Meyer.

On the field, it will be a lot tougher to replace Roby in the secondary than Hyde in the backfield. To be sure, Carlos Hyde was arguably going to be the most important cog on offense behind Braxton Miller, but the running back position is well stocked. It's short on experience, but both Rod Smith and Bri'onte Dunn performed well in limited and REALLY limited action. In a pinch, Meyer could decide to slide Jordan Hall back to the #1 running back slot and look for someone else to step up into the ‘Pivot' position.

Roby will be a lot tougher to overcome, though. He is the top cornerback in the Big Ten, and assuming his career trajectory was to continue, a top 10 or 15 NFL draft prospect. Armani Reeves, Tyvis Powell , Adam Griffin (who somewhat ironically was Hyde's roommate), and Eli Apple will probably be the names you hear the most, and although they're talented, the drop off from Roby to any one of the backups is substantial.

Off the field, there will be a lot of digital ink spilled over this the next few days, and much of it will be righteous indignation towards Urban Meyer and his ‘renegade program', hooliganism by big time college athletes, and a general disgust of athletes in general. We'll also get more than one article, I'm sure, about the invincibility athletes have that makes them (allegedly) act like this.

But here's the bottom line in all of this: what everyone else says doesn't matter, because whatever punishment Coach Meyer metes out, I'm okay with. Whether he kicks Roby of them off the team permanently, suspends him part of the season, or lets him play in every game, I'm fine with it.


Look, I gave up the role of Moral Arbiter towards athletes about a decade ago. Sure, there are lots of good guys in sports, but there are a lot of turds, too. Just like in real life. In college, the same rule applies, and it's never going to change. But be that as it may, it's not up to us to determine whether or not someone should play for a team or not. That decision belongs to the coach.

I've been able to come to terms with the fact that there are, and have been, some real turds on teams that I cheer for. For me, I used to be the Moral Outrage Guy (seriously, if I could find my little ditty about the Vikings infamous Love Boat adventure when I wrote for a now defunct site, I'd link to it...hoo boy) and I would demand suspensions, public floggings, resignations, the whole nine yards.

But now? As to whether they suit up or not, I don't care. I can separate what a person does off the field and still cheer for them on the field as long as they wear the uniform of the team I cheer for. And if a coach from a team I don't cheer for is cool with letting a guy play that did something a lot of people find distasteful, go for it.

Because if the coach is okay with a guy getting in trouble, dealing with the consequences, and then playing, I am okay with cheering for the player for three hours on Saturday. Though the two crimes vary in nature and certainly at face value, the punishment for one necessitates stricter consequences than the other, it seems petty and shortsighted to superficially force harsher punishment on the likes of Roby for things that transpired five plus years ago at a different school under different circumstances. Yet you're likely to read plenty of cases like this in the days (and possibly weeks) to come.

Should the facts present themselves in such a way that Meyer elects to run Roby, so be it. But let's let the person in the position of power to rule on that make that call. Though you can (and folks will) make a case that past transgressions necessitate zero tolerance or stricter than normal adjudication, dealing in absolutes seldom works out solving for anything.

But should Roby (or anyone else facing off the field consequences) take their medicine, rehabilitate, and otherwise earn their way back into Coach Meyer's good graces, that doesn't mean I'm going to cheer for him any less.